Poetry and Covid

I’m so thrilled and honoured to have my first piece of peer-reviewed poetry published in a special edition of Stimulus Journal.

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My piece is called telos (which means goal, the ending point of things). I wrote it in response to an experience I had while making the quilt top in the photo.

I hope it encourages you.

Miriam x

 

 

Led Reflection – Easter Saturday Vigil

Culturally I feel like I am ill equipped for grief. Grief and death are events to be wrapped by professionals and delivered in a short period of time before everyone is encouraged to get on with it.

I look at some of the beautiful cultures around me and how they enter into grief and death, how they sit in ashes (metaphorically) and how their community of loved ones enters with them.

This Easter I am trying to hold space for the grief of Saturday better. To not avoid the grief but to be present to it and in doing so to be more human.

These strange times we find ourselves in confront us with many emotions that have been able to be ignored in our usual busyness.

Below is a reflection to participate in – holding space for grief and for Jesus on this Easter Saturday.

Led Reflection – Good Friday

I am always undone by Good Friday.  Every year there seems to be something new to engage with and explore.

I pray this reflection will help you to come to the cross again with a new sense of holy awe and wonder.

May we never rush past what Jesus did for us and for the cosmos.

Led Reflections – Maundy Thursday

In their final evening together Jesus knelt before his friends and washed their feet. Though he was about to go to the cross he still loved and served his friends. May we too have strength to love those near to us in these difficult days.

A quiet meditation for Maundy Thursday.

Lead Prayers – Mary Anoints Jesus

This Holy Week I’ve recorded some reflections for people to participate with. Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday I’m going to post one here each day for the next 4 days.

Each one features prayer, scripture and poetry or story and are accompanied by images by dear artist friends. They are about 20minutes long.

They are designed to be done in silence and reflection and could be integrated into your prayer practice. If you are new to reflective practice I encourage you to find a quiet space free from distractions and see it as a new way of praying. The music quality in this one is not great so maybe have a song cued that you can listen to during that part.

They are not without (many) imperfections. However, I hope that they might help in leaning into the days of this most Holy Week in these strangest of times.

Holy Week

A couple of years ago I did the Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius with my spiritual director. I found as I set out on the journey to the cross that I didn’t want to walk with Jesus to the cross. I just wanted to be there on Sunday. It is something in me that still needs changing – this ability to enter lament, to be present to pain. May we all have courage to allow ourselves to enter pain and to receive love even there.

Miriam x

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I don’t want to walk with you to the cross

don’t want to pass the jeering crowd

or be present to the lonely abyss of Gethsemane

 

I want to stand on Sunday’s horizon

and say

it’s okay Jesus

            look resurrection will come

 

So, like the crowd I condemn

and the disciples I judge

I abandon you

on your walk to the cross

 

I leave you alone

so alone

human man

acquainted with suffering and grief

 

I really just want

the resurrection power

the triumph of the lamb

the roar of the lion

 

so I climb up to my privileged position

and wait at the dawn of Sunday

ready to sing my alleluias

where a stone is rolled away

 

and as I abandon you

I acknowledge I have abandoned others

on their difficult journeys through

death’s valley

preferring to whisper hope

from resurrection’s empty tomb

 

instead of being empty accompaniment

into the cave

where death seems

to have the victory

 

I am afraid of accompanying you

and afraid of accompanying others

I am a broken disciple

 

would you hold this unfaithful

uncomfortable hand in yours

as I attempt not to run away

 

to hold the course for

Gethsemane

Golgotha

and

tomb

 

for as long as my small strength holds on

The Beatitudes

Heya,

This is a poem I wrote recently as I reflected on the Beatitudes as found in Matthew 4:23-5:12. I hope these words wrap you in encouragement wherever you are.

Miriam Jessie x

 

it is a strange invitation

divine and dusty

a call to be biggest

most invested

brightest

in the secret space

to pour silently, intentionally

into what will not be seen

 

when all the world is building followers

promoting best-sellers

building platforms – virtual & physical

 

a long-ago man sits

on a quiet hillside

no stadium, or microphone, or publishing deal

and tells his friends

the real secret to

blessing

joy

abundance

 

it sounds like downwardness

empty self

to be filled up – undeserved

 

it sounds like letting go

when inside and out chorus

“hold tight

no.1

self-promote”

 

it sounds like surrendering

glamour

gold

desire

 

embracing imperfect contentment

striving no more

standing open hand & heart

before persecution

& embracing an enemy with a knife in his hand

 

How can this appeal?

yet, on his lips

this man of dust and divine

I am considering it

excited even

at the prospect

of throwing it all away

the

important, image, ideology

& finding myself

 

home

fulfilled

content

 

in the company of the scarred

the overlooked

the locust-eaters

and perfume pourers

 

the depressed prophets

& righteous afflicted

the children

& the poor

 

What can they possibly offer someone like me?

 

I think perhaps

they are the shining stars

whose legacy

becomes my powhiri

 

“come, we have space for you too”

 

and a nail-scarred hand,

to match a body that did not grasp

deserved glory

enfolds mine

leads me gently

says to me

“come

 

here, amidst the mess & pain

& disappointment, & affliction

here is the

very throne room

here

is kingdom come.”

 

Holy Week

These are my current musings as I journey Easter-ward.

May it bless you, may you find yourself accompanied on the way toward the narrative of difficulty, death, vigil and resurrection. May you have courage at every part of the journey to wait, to see, to understand and to continue on.

Bless you – wherever you are along the way.

Lords prayer forgiveness

This Week

This is a week to kneel in Gethsemane’s garden

to feel the gravel push hard into thin knee flesh

 

It is a week for letting go

for sweating blood and crying tears

fear

surrender

mercy

 

It is a week to show grace to friends who could not stay awake for us

A week for others to misunderstand the gravity of what we face

 

A week to acknowledge

the heart wants to run

the flesh is weak

the journey may be intensely lonely, despite the thronging crowds

 

It is a day to kneel as light turns to night

to feel the touch of cold hard wind on skin

to long to stay eternally in this moment because the way ahead is dark and dreadful

 

It is a night to remember the One who knelt for me

that I may remember I shall never kneel alone

there is no pit so deep his love is not deeper still*

no chasm so wide he will not cross to make a way for me to come

This is Gethsemane’s week

 *Corrie Ten Boom coined this phrase